Tag Archive: Managing Behaviours

When your child is hurt

unintentionally by another child of yours, what would you have done?

Something happened yesterday. Little pea was lying on his baby throne and I was sitting beside him. Little man was at the other side of little pea, looking through photos of jet-fighters in my mobile phone and drawing them on his Boogie Board. He wanted to show me the photo he wanted to draw, hence he took the phone and attempted to show me by holding above little pea. All of a sudden, the phone slipped out of his small hand and dropped right at little pea’s right eye.

Immediately, his eye was red and there was strains of blood. I screamed, shoved the phone away and carried my crying pea. When he has calmed down, I tried to inspect the extent of his injuries, praying very hard that he suffered nothing serious. There was a small bleeding cut extremely near the corner of his eye. The bottom of his eye was swollen and red. He was crying softly, making voiceless husky sounds. Throughout all this, little man was crying very loudly. He kept saying that he was sorry and he did not do this on purpose. He wanted me to carry him.

However, I did not.

I was badly affected by what happened, tearing badly as I inspected little pea’s injury. I was trying to hold back my words and emotions towards little man and calm down, before deciding what to say to him. At that moment, I just felt really sad for little pea. He had gotten a bad cold from his brother and now an eye injury. I just felt so sad he had to suffer so much.

I know at the back of my mind that it was not little man’s fault. He adores his little brother and would never hurt him deliberately. Hence I knew I had to calm myself down and deal with the situation carefully.

After making sure that little pea is alright, I reached out to little man, who by then was feeling hurt, scared and isolated. It took awhile for him to make sure I was not going to be angry at him. I hugged him for the longest time. When he finally calmed down as well, I tried to explained to him that he has to be more careful in the future and asked him to sayang Didi and apologise.

When hubby called that evening, I broke down while trying to tell him what just happened. And I realised how thankful I am that little pea’s eye is alright. There must be some angels watching over my little baby. That cut is so very close to his eye that something very bad could have happened. Thank God for your protection of my little ones. Please continue to watch over them.

I also realised that I could have reacted better. My first reaction was to scream. And I think perhaps unknowingly, I threw an angry glance at little man. My poor boy must have been very scared too. For a while, he doesn’t dare to go near his baby brother. It was an accident, it could happen to anyone.

It made me to think of the discussion topic in a motherhood FB group that was brought up. What would you do if a child of yours unintentionally cause the death of your other child? Just the thought of it makes me cringe. I would not wish it upon my worst enemy. For now, I just pray very hard every day for God’s protection for them.

Very proud of himself

That is what Hubby told me, after putting little man to sleep tonight.

It has been a long while since little man allows Hubby to put him to bed. Ever since he started school, he has been such a koala. He has to have Mama next to him while he takes his time to go to lalaland. Hence, Papa will bathe him, read books and watch videos with him while Mama quickly finishes up her housework and rushes to shower. Then Mama will take over and put him to bed, which will usually take a long time because little man wants to “chat”, play and sing with Mama instead of sleeping.

Tonight, we came home rather late. As usual, I quickly went to shower. When I came out, I was pleasantly surprised to see Hubby out of his room. Hubby couldn’t get that smirk off his face as he told him how he get little man to sleep.

Little man was asking to watch videos of his favourite songs. Hubby then told little man to lie down, close his eyes and Papa will count to 100. He promised him plenty of videos after that. He counted to around 150 before he finally fell asleep.

My verdict? I think my dear Hubby has up his level in this parenting game. I also think that my little man must be really tired to fall for that kind of trick. 😉

Will get better

It has been a pretty bad week.

I did mention about it in my last post. But little did I know, right after publishing that post while little man was sleeping, he woke up suddenly, cried badly for Mama, and wouldn’t go back to sleep unless I stay with him.

Little man has been sleeping on his own since he was born. We have a baby monitor to keep us aware of his needs, hence very rarely do we sleep with him through the night. However, he was very adamant about having me with him. He woke up almost every half an hour to check if I was still with him. He would ask me to sleep with him on his bed, and then when he feels that he has not much space for himself, he would ask me to sleep on the mattress on the floor again. This went on for a couple of times that night. The both of us ended up with very little sleep.

The next morning, little man put up a “fight” to put on his uniform. At one point only with his diapers on, he ran away with his uniform and attempted to throw them away. I don’t know how we manage to get him to brush his teeth, drink his “milk-disguised milo”, put on his uniform and eventually leave the house. The “Majulah Singapura” MV and his teddy bear accompanying him to school must have played a big part in this major accomplishment.

That following night, history repeated itself, but just much earlier. As usual, Hubby was tending to little man while I took a bath. While in the bathroom, I suddenly hear a familiar cry. Then it came nearer and nearer to me, waiting just outside the bathroom door. I had to come out in a towel and pacify him before dressing myself. The rest of the night was like the last, just a little better because I was too tired to hear him waking up to look for me. I think in my dreams I did ask him to go back to sleep a couple of times.

By Friday, I was becoming a very easily-irritated zombie.

Like the past few days, little man was extremely cranky and highly emotional. He would cry at nothing and want nothing. Sometimes I think he just want to vent his frustrations. He became very volatile. Anything that goes against what he want, he would want to “hit” that thing/person. My sister, his favourite person other than his parents, overheard him being angry at his giraffe toy while he was going to bed. The conversation went something like this.

“Giraffe,这是我的抱枕,你不可以拿!” (Giraffe, this is my bolster! You cannot take it!)

Then he grabbed his bolster and turned the other way angrily.

“你坏蛋!打架!” (You are a bad boy! Fight!)

Then he threw the giraffe over his bed-guard onto the floor.

打架 is a term he sometimes used when he is angry and he wants to warn the person who is making him angry to back off. He rarely hit anyone physically, only show the action of hitting in the air. I think he learnt that from his favourite documentary “A walk with the dinosaur”. He would always tell me this term when the dinosaurs chase after one another. I will always try to explain to him that it is not right to fight, and most of the time he understands. But now it seems that he cannot quite control his emotions.

All these while, I have been trying to tell myself to be more understanding towards him. Somehow my baby has plenty of pent-up frustrations because he doesn’t understand why Mama wants to send him away every day. He is only two-year old. Such complicated emotions are beyond his ability to control. But that Friday evening, I lost it when he swept away the cup of papaya juice I made for him, creating a mess of himself and the dining table.

I grabbed, put him in the shower area and scolded him very harshly. When emotions almost washed away my rationality, I almost took the shower spray to spray at him. That moment, I suddenly saw my baby shivering and crying in fear and frustration. I have never seen him like that before. I stepped back, went out of the toilet and took a while to calm myself down. When I felt better, I went in and gave him a tight long hug until he stopped crying.

That night, when Hubby came back, I told him what happened. I felt so emotional to relive what happen. I must have been really tired due to the lack of sleep, yet that is not enough reason for me to treat little man like that. Hubby and I both agree that this is only a phase for little man, and we have to show him more patience and love while walking through this with him.

Little man has been a good boy. This message was once again shown to me strong and clear when sister was running through some of little man’s past videos through his two years. He has always been a good boy, although he can be stubborn and playful at times. But he will always listen to us when we try to explain to him about rights and wrongs. He will learn and he is able to repeat what we say to himself or others who try to do the wrongs.

This is only a phase, we should not judge him because of this. He is learning how to understand his emotions and expressing them without throwing a tantrum. It is not easy, even for adults. We must be more forgiving.

I am trying hard. And I hope instead of being drawn into his turmoil of emotions and become emotional together with him, I can be his pillar of support and love, just like what Hubby has been for us.

My little koala

Building a relationship

Little man had an unusual meltdown last night.

He was left in his cot after shower just like any other night. Usually, he will play on his own for a while before sleeping by himself. Last night however, he demanded to have his sticker books and toys, and wanted Hubby to take him out of the cot. Hubby refused and little man immediately threw a terrible tantrum.

I was in the shower all this while, listening to those shrill cries for Mama. I took my time, waiting for Hubby to calm him down. But little man was adamant about having his Mama and wouldn’t let it go without a fight. His constant “我不要爸爸!爸爸走开!” (I don’t want Papa! Papa go away!) angered Hubby so much that he was not able to keep calm himself. The episode ended with a very angry Hubby and a badly shaken baby.

After calming little man down, I tried to explain to him that he should not say those hurting words to Papa as Papa will feel very sad. He softened after some coaxing and I brought him to Hubby to apologise, to kiss and make up. However, Hubby was still pretty upset and did not seem willing to forgive him, although little man seems to have forgotton the racket he made minutes ago. To him, all was forgotten as long as he got his Mama.

I had a good talk with Hubby that night. I think we all need a refresher course on building and maintaining a good relationship every now and then, and it’s no exception for the parent-child relationship. These are some learning points I want to note down, for us as parents to reminding ourselves.

1. Keep calm & Do not take things personally
As much as I understand how infuriating little man can be at times, we as adults must always be the one to keep calm and level-headed. It is not that little man did not want his father, he just wanted his Mama and nobody else. Hence, he will reject anyone who is near him at that moment of his, anyone but his Mama. It is not easy to NOT take it personally, but as adults we must do that.

2. Think before you act
We are adults, we are not children. We should be able to rationally think about the situation before reacting to it. This is especially so when you are reacting to a child. Your reactions should not be just about how you feel. It is more important to think about what you want out of your actions, before reacting to the child.

If the child does not take well to the hard approach, the more you talk to the child in an angry and harsh manner, the stronger the reaction of the child will be. In the end, other than a screaming adult and a wailing toddler, you achieve nothing from the episode. This is especially so for little man who requires the soft approach to be able calm down and listen to reasoning.

One of the worse thing you can do to a young child is to start a cold war and start ignoring the child. Firstly, the child probably does not understand what you are doing. He will not apologise to you just because you stop talking to him, mainly due to his lack of understanding for such behaviour of yours. Secondly, he learns nothing from your actions. He does not learn what he has done wrong and how he can change for the better. Thirdly, your relationship with the child could be worse if your actions make him think that you do not love him anymore. The foundation of a parent-child relationship is love. It is important to make your love known to each other in order for the relationship to flourish. The child needs to know that you love him no matter what he has done wrong.

My personal experiences with cold wars taught me that they do nothing but drift both parties further apart. My father is the champion of cold war. When I was in my college years, we had a major disagreement and he started a cold war on me. Days became months, months became years. The war went on for almost three years. I do not remember how the war stopped, but from then, everything has changed. Hence, do not start a cold war. Not on the child you love so much.

3. Spend quality time together
It is not difficult to understand why little man only wants me. Other than the fact that I take care of him 24/7, the quality time I spent with him also build towards our relationship. Quality time meant no distractions, no mobile phones, just focusing on little man, be it playing, reading or learning together.

You will know if you have spent quality time with you child, because when you do, you realise you have gotten to know him a little better. You will see his progress, his emotions, his little actions and gestures. You will not feel bored or in a hurry to finish up the game you are playing with him, because if you feel that way, you are just patronising him. You are not spending quality time with him, as much as you would like to think so. The child maybe young, he can feel what you are feeling. He will know if you are truly there for him.

4. Verbalise your love
Hubby grew up in a family where love is rarely spoken. Hence, he does not have the habit of expressing his love verbally and physically. Even as an adult, I sometimes request Hubby to be more expressive of his love for me. It does not need to be much, just a hug and a simple “I love you” will do. He would often retort, “Think about all the things I have done for you, would you not think that I love you?” And I will accept it at that because indeed, he has done a lot of me and the family. I am an adult, I can try to rationalise my emotions and needs. But for young children, they need you to show and tell them the love you have for them.

The knowledge and reiteration of such deep love builds a strong foundation for future relationship between the parent and the child. It is not a given that all parents love their children, hence it should not be a given that the children should know that their parents love them. A strong relationship built during their younger years will help them to open up to you as they grow up. You do not want to be just a discipline master in their heart. You want to be their guide, their light, their friends and their shelter. They will come to you no matter what age, because they know you love them no matter what happens.

5. Put yourself in the child’s shoes
Whenever little man is in one of his moments, I will first try to take a step back to think if there are any underlying reasons for his tantrums. In the case of last night, little man was already very tired from a eventful weekend over at his grandma’s. To top it up, he was overstimulated by the meeting of so many new faces at a birthday party we brought him to that evening. He was still in his playful mode, although he was already very very tired. He did not understand that he needs to sleep and rest to feel better. He is only a toddler who is still learning to make sense and control his emotions. If we can see things in that perspective, we can be more understanding towards him. And truth to be told, little children can only learn to be more understanding towards others when they experienced such compassion and consideration towards themselves through others.

6. Make sure the lesson is learnt, not just brushed aside
As little man progresses in his abilities and skills, he also starts to test his limits in many ways I would never have thought of. Many times when he was reprimanded, he would throw a huge tanrum and cry nonstop. When he is in that state, nothing can go into his ears. Instead of continuing to scold him, I will soften my stance and try to calm him down first. When he is calmer, I will go through with him what exactly happened just now and what he had done wrong. I will ask him to repeat after me what he had done wrong, and make him apologise and say that he will never do that again.

The scoldings are not as important as the lesson the child should be learning. Many times, the scoldings are just for the parents to vent their pent-up frustrations. That goes back to my second point, think before you act.

Building a relationship is never easy, especially when it is with your very own child. It is a life-long learning journey. But I believe, with plenty of patience and love, we will be able to enjoy the fruits of a loving parent-child relationship in the long run.

I will do my best. I hope you will jiayou too.

Refusing to sleep. Again.

Last night, for some reason, little man woke up suddenly at 1.30am and refused to go back to sleep.

He fidgeted, played, talk gibberish to himself and 自编自导自演 for almost 2 hours. Usually, Hubby would be the one handling him if he cries for us at night. He has been sleeping on his own since birth, hence Hubby will usually go over to his room and pat him back to sleep. Last night was ultimatum. Hubby couldn’t take it anymore and came to ask me take over.

I went over, put him to bed and then slept on the adult bed nearby. I told him if I hear anymore noise from him, I will go back to my room. He was very active and kept standing on his cot and calling for me. I ignored him and continue to sleep. He started crying. I stood up and told him again that it is night-time and everyone is sleeping, he should go back to sleep too. He wouldn’t give up trying to get me to play. I continued to ignore his pleas. Finally, he drifted off to lalaland at 5-ish am.

I thought that episode will make him really tired today. Apparently, I was wrong. I am tired, but not him. Below is a video, an hour after he was put to bed.

Sigh. A sleepless toddler makes a very tired Mama.

Knock knock!

Hubby has the habit of knocking the door before going into little man’s room.

In a recent conversation we had, Hubby asked me why I did not do so. No particular reason, I replied. I just didn’t think I need to knock since he is still so young.

Hubby begged to differ.

He explained that we will first need to respect little man’s privacy, before requesting that from him. If he grows up understanding that knocking before entering someone else’s room is a form of respect for that person, he will do so in the future when he wants to enter our room.

That conversation stuck with me.

I think I have landed myself with the hubby jackpot. 🙂 Who would have guessed that my nerdyhamsum-looking Hubby have so much parenting wisdom within him.

Knock knock… who is the naughty boy here?

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